‘We will not back down’: Canada hits back at US’ aluminum tariff with $3.6 billion in countermeasures

Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has announced retaliatory tariffs on $3.6 billion worth of US aluminum, to be put in place in September after industry consultations.

“We will not back down,” Freeland said during the Friday announcement. 

The tariffs, which will be in place by September 16, come in response to the US government imposing a ten percent tariff on raw aluminum coming in from Canada. That tariff will be in place on August 16. 

President Donald Trump celebrated the tariffs during a trip to Ohio on Thursday where he claimed the country was “taking advantage of us, as usual.”

He went on to say Canada has flooded American markets with exports and “decimated” the American aluminum industry. 

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Freeland began preparing countermeasures immediately and called the US tariffs “unfair, unwarranted, and unnecessary.” She blasted President Trump for imposing the tariffs in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic when many economies and industries are suffering.

“In imposing these tariffs the United States has taken the absurd decision to harm its own people at a time when its economy is suffering the deepest crisis since the Great Depression,” she said. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford — who has supported the US president in the past, including during a trip to DC earlier in the year where he said he hopes November’s election goes “the right way. Literally, the right way” —  also blasted Trump for the economic tariffs and said he encouraged Freeland to impose as many tariffs on US goods as she could.

“We buy more goods off the United States than China, Japan, [the] UK combined. Who does this? At times like this, who tries to go after your closest ally? Your closest trading partner? Your number one customer in the entire world? Who would do this? President Trump did this, and I encouraged the deputy prime minister to put retaliatory tariffs on as many goods as possible,” Ford said.  

The US and Canada have gotten into tariff wars before. Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from the country in 2018, and Canada responded by imposing tariffs on various US products. 

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Trump says he is reimposing the tariffs because Canada has not kept to their “commitment” to not “flood” the country with products and “kill all our aluminum jobs.”

“Several months ago, my administration agreed to lift those tariffs in return for a promise from the Canadian government that its aluminum industry would not flood our country with exports and kill all our aluminum jobs, which is exactly what they’ve done,” Trump said. “Canadian aluminum producers have broken their commitment.”

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